Favorite Thing Friday: Retro Rib Socks

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I’ve been bit by the sock knitting bug, again! This time I pulled out my trusty needles and made some simple, yet really fun to knit socks. The inspiration for “simple” came from realizing my sock drawer is full of brightly colored socks and very few neutral colors. I needed some socks that go with anything and everything without being boring.

I found the perfect pattern in one of my favorite knitting books, Favorite Socks: 25 Timeless Designs From Interweave. The Retro Rib Sock is just a simple rib pattern, but it mixes stitches up enough to give the rib a little kick.

Considering I choose a very plain yarn, Patons Kroy Socks in Flax, it was important for the stitch pattern to create a nice texture. The Retro Rib definitely gives this otherwise boring yarn a boost with wonderful ridges and valleys.

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Even plain brown socks can be pretty!

To achieve such an interesting texture, the pattern calls for knit and knit-through-back loop stitches that alternate between rows. Luckily, the pattern has a nice rhythm and that makes it easy to memorize when to knit a stitch normally and when to knit through the back loop.

While this is a rather easy pattern, it does call for a kitchener stitch on the toe which can be a little daunting for a beginner. I find it to be a rather easy method to use (thanks to Ann Budd’s Getting Started Knitting Socks), but it’s easy enough to knit the toe using another method, (such as the star toe).

Overall, I love these socks! They are toasty warm and they match everything in my closet.

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2015

Favorite Thing Friday: Arrow Bracelet

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Sometimes being a fangirl is what gets my muse inspired. I’ve made no secret about the fact that I love Arrow (see 10 Reasons Why Arrow is Awesome), so it was only a matter of time before my crafting skills would apply to this obsession.

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While wandering through the bead aisle at my local craft store an idea hit me. Hmmmm, I wonder if they have a charm in the shape of an arrow? Within five minutes I found one:

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Vintaj Straight Arrow Charm

Now came the serious job of brainstorming how to turn this little charm into a piece of wearable art. I settled on creating a bracelet because I still love my compass necklace way too much to give it up. Instead of the usual chain or bead combination, I decided to make something a little different. I went into the leather crafting aisle and found the perfect thing! A leather snap bracelet with stitching holes along the side.

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Darice Leather Snap Bracelet

To fill in the stitching holes, I went straight to the cording aisle. After much contemplation, I settled on some thin green hemp cording, (green is Arrow’s signature color). Not only is it strong stuff that doesn’t fray, but it’ll give the bracelet a rustic look.

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Hemptique Crafting Cord

When I put it all together, I ended up with a great Arrow Bracelet:

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Arrow Bracelet

Here’s how I did it:

First, I split the hemp cord into a 2-ply string instead of 3-ply.

Then, using an embroidery needle I backstitched the cord into the pre-punched holes on the leather strap.

I left the ends long and then tied them off in a square knot. To hide the ends, I wove them into the stitches (just like a knitter!).

To attach the arrow, I took a leftover single strand of hemp cording and wrapped it twice around the base of the arrowhead. Then, I used a needle to pull each strand through the bracelet holes. I tied the ends into a square knot and wove in the ends.

I repeated the same process at the base of the fletching.

Lastly, I slightly bent the arrow charm to follow the natural curve of my wrist.

All told the whole process took about 30 minutes. How’s that for some awesome fan art!?

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2015

 

Favorite Thing Friday: Spring Fling Socks

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My sock loom has been busy! After a long hiatus from knitting things for myself (Christmas gift knitting is a four month ordeal), I finally got to make something fun for myself. To get back in the groove of my style and my preferences I went back to where it all began – my original KB Sock Loom.

Instead of picking out a technically demanding pattern, I opted to play with pattern dyed yarn to create an interesting sock. All I have to do is a simple stockinette stitch while the self-striping and self-patterning yarn does all the work. I’ve been meaning to make a simple sock for a while as they are the best for daily wear, easy to wash, and are the most comfortable with my Converse Sneakers.

I had the perfect yarn hiding in my yarn basket for this project – Premier Yarns Serenity Sock Weight Prints in Spring Fling. It alternates between solid color stripes, checkers, and vertical stripes in myriad bright colors (coral, magenta, gray, blue, and green). To anchor the “busy” feel of the color I decided to make the cuff, heel, and toe in a solid color. As it turns out I had a partial skein of Premier Yarns Serenity Sock Weight Solids in Woodsy Green leftover from a previous project (Green & Pink Socks) that matched relatively well.

From previous experience with this brand of yarn, I knew to cast on with more pegs than I normally would for my size. After a few washes, this yarn shrinks up a bit, even when hand washed and laid flat to dry. My usual sock is anywhere from 48 to 52 pegs, but for this one I tried out 56 pegs to see if that is enough to accommodate for the shrinkage issue. It’ll be a couple of months before I know if this worked!

This is my third attempt at very basic colorwork on a sock loom and I think it turned out pretty well!

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Spring Fling socks

Colorwork technique on a sock loom is very different from knitting needles. The general rule in knitting is to never use a knot to attach a new color, but on a sock loom that rule has to be modified.

At the beginning of a round, tie the new color around the previous work yarn strand. Only tie it once and do not make a knot. It will be a little loose at first, but it’s easy to tighten up after a few rounds. Cut the previous work yarn (with at least a 6″ tail) and continue with the newly established work yarn.

Once the sock is done and it’s time to weave in the ends, the single tie that was created to attach the new color can be undone. Very carefully pick apart the tie and weave in the ends as usual. The connection is seamless and there’s no knot!

The sock adventure continues as I scan through my patterns for the next project and decide what to pull out of my yarn basket!

Happy Knitting!

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2015

 

Merry Knitty Christmas!

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Another Christmas means another year of knitting gifts for family and friends. I made everything from socks to cowls to kitchen towels, which made for an interesting few months of knitting that never left me bored.

If you’re on my Christmas list, don’t scroll down any further unless you want Santa to bring you coal.

I’m serious, Santa is watching you.

Spoilers!!!

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I love working with cotton yarn, so for two people on my list I made cotton dishcloth and kitchen towel sets.

Tile Stitch Kitchen Towel (improvised pattern)

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Triangles Kitchen Towel

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Paired with Stacked Barrels and Simple Weave Dishcloths

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For a friend who doesn’t love a good kitchen towel, I made her a set of spa cloths in her favorite colors. I paired them with a bar of lavender soap for the ultimate spa experience.

Baby Fern Stitch and Basic Diamonds Spa Cloths

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Friends and family that received hats last year, got cowls to match their hats. The Leaving Cowls were made using leftover hat yarn, while the Present Cowl was made to look like jeans (something I know my friend would like and it matches her hat without being too matchy matchy).

Leaving Cowls

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Present Cowl

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While visiting family over the summer, a little prodding revealed a family member likes to wear scarves. I had no idea what to get him for Christmas, so this piece of info came in very handy!

Men’s Cashmere Scarf (or wool!)

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What would any knitting marathon be without pulling out my sock loom? For the ultimate Harry Potter fan, I made a pair of Gryffindor themed socks using a pattern called Hermione’s Day Socks. It was very tempting to keep them for myself!

Hermione’s Day Socks

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Last year I tried and failed (more than once) to make a pair of fingerless gloves for someone who really wanted a pair. So, this year, I was determined to find the right pattern and learn how to make a thumbhole. The first pair was an epic fail, (they are now a ball of yarn), but the second pair came out perfectly.

Peaks Fingerless Mitts (from Sock Loom Projects by Isela Phelps)

100_4864The gift knitting continues as I work on a baby blanket for a friend who is expecting. I’ll post pictures as soon as it’s done.

Happy Holidays!

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c.b.w. 2014